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Three journalists assaulted

(IFJ/IFEX) - November 29, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned by reports that at least three journalists were recently harassed and assaulted.

Wang Xiangqian, a journalist for Commerce Daily in Henan province, in China's north, was kicked by a State Bureau for Letter and Calls staff member in Nanyang city, Henan. According to local various media reports, Wang was assaulted on November 24 while querying the Bureau's public expenditure.

New policies issued by the State Council of China this year require all government departments and bureaus to disclose their expenditure on overseas travel, local transport and public receptions.

Reportedly, Wang also received death threats from the Bureau staff member, who told him: "If you move a bit, I'll let you die here today."

In another case, two television journalists from the Shenzhen Media Group were harassed and assaulted in the course of their work by a group of individuals, one of whom claimed to be a senior official of the Public Security Bureau of Shenzhen.

Chen Yaoxin and Yuan Teng reported that they were harassed by a group of at least six people on November 23, when they were attempting to investigate a commercial dispute in Longgang District, Shenzhen.

Chen said he was manhandled by the group, who stole his camera and mobile phone. An unidentified female member of the group slapped him. Some members of the group were reportedly armed with an iron bar and a knife.

Reports say the offender from the State Bureau of Letters and Calls was suspended from his duties and the group of individuals who harassed Chen and Yuan were detained and fined by local police.

In September, Li Xiang of Luoyang City Television was stabbed to death, and his portable computer stolen, by unidentified suspects while he was walking home. Li's colleagues believe his murder was related to his investigations into the sale of illegally reprocessed waste cooking oil.

"Government officials and many citizens in China have yet to embrace the principle of press freedom, and as a result Chinese authorities aren't protecting the safety of journalists," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

The IFJ urges Meng Jianzhu, the Minister of the Security Bureau of China, to cooperate with the All-China Journalists Association to develop a comprehensive safety plan for media workers, and educate government officials and the general public on the need to respect press freedom.

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